Gaming

Ray tracing makes 'Zelda: Breath of The Wild' jaw-droppingly beautiful

Hyrule was already beautiful to begin with, but in 8K it’ll take your breath away.

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 31:  A gamer plays the video game "The Legend of Zelda : Breath of the Wild" developed and published by Nintendo on a Nintendo Switch games console during the 'Paris Games Week' on October 31, 2017 in Paris, France. 'Paris Games Week' is an international trade fair for video games to be held from October 31 to November 5, 2017.  (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
Chesnot/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Nintendo hasn't released any details about bringing 4K capabilities to Switch yet, but rumors abound the next-gen Switch may offer them. Nonetheless, that hasn't stopped people from trying to see current generation games in 8K glory. YouTube channel Digital Dreams released a video of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild rendered in 8K with remarkable improvements to its visual effects, including reflections, shadows, and textures. The results are stunning, to say the least.

As Link calmly strolls through the Korok Forest of BOTW, you can see the smallest details in the environment come to life, including little tufts of fog in the woods, sunlight pouring through the spaces between the leaves of the trees and dancing on the ground, the butterflies in the distance shine in the verdancy of Link’s surroundings, and even dust particles mid-air are easy to spot. Meanwhile, in the wetlands, the shadows cast by the trees reflect clearly on the water as Link runs through the swamps. You can even see light bouncing off of flower petals in the meadows. Talk about attention to detail.

What is ray tracing? — Ray tracing is a visual processing method that traces the trajectory of light in a virtual environment. This allows for ultra-realistic lighting effects in digitally generated video or video games.

Digital Dreams also played around with a bit of path tracing, which is a method to simulate shadows, blurring, and more realistic depictions of the distance between an object close to the character and those which are far away. Or, in other words, depth of field.

Give us more, please — Upscaling a game like BOTW gives gamers a chance to envision what next-gen graphics might look like on some of their favorite titles. With Digital Dreams' upscaling, you can see the actual grass blades reflect sunlight in the distance and the river's shimmer in the sunshine while the tiniest movement in the environment is visible with incredible detail and lush texturing.

For Digital Dreams, enhancing a game's visual quality is a regular hobby. The channel has done the same for Immortals' Fenix Rising, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as well as Star Wars Battlefront 2. Digital Dreams' enhancement gives these games a photo-realistic quality, which undoubtedly lends the game's lore and minute details a whole new level of vibrancy. Let’s hope some of what it’s imagined turns into reality down the line.